GUILFORD – For the first time, smokers who light up on town property in the Town of Guilford could become subject to litigation, thanks to a new law that goes into effect this month.
A smoking ban on town property was recently approved by members of the Guilford Town Board, making it unlawful to smoke on town property, including parks, parking lots, and town-owned vehicles.
Guilford is the first municipality in the county to implement an official smoking ban, and among a small handful of municipalities across the state to have one.
According to Guilford Town Supervisor George Seneck, the comprehensive smoking ordinance has been in the radar for town officials for the past three years.
“When we first started reworking the town’s comprehensive plan three years ago, it was one of our board’s goals to move forward with this ordinance issue,” Seneck said, noting that the concept has, for a long time, been favored among Guilford’s decision making body. “It’s a personal choice to smoke. On the other hand, if you are entering a building and people are smoking near the entrance, you end up going through their smoke. To some extent, I view that as an infringement on civil liberties.”
In addition to residents, the ban also applies to town employees, three of which are known smokers, said Seneck. Board members have spoken with the town’s union rep about the issue.
A public hearing was called before board members approved the ordinance back in September. Despite the often times controversial move to make it unlawful to smoke in public places, nobody spoke out at those meetings...